USDA to Label Risky Tenderized Meat

Because of the health risks caused by mechanically tenderized meat, the government will soon require labeling.

Starting in May 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will require the labeling of meat that has been mechanically tenderized before it is packaged for consumption. The process of tenderizing meat with mechanized blades or needles pushes pathogens on the meat’s surface into the flesh, and when meat is not cooked all the way through, consumers are exposed to foodborne illness. Currently, there are no regulations in place to distinguish mechanically tenderized meat from non-tenderized meat, so this is the first of its kind. According to USDA Deputy Under Secretary Alfred Almanza, the new labels will prevent 500 annual cases of illness. Coming off of last week’s meat recall, this new label will spotlight yet another source of meat consumption-related illness.

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